Tracy Area High School’s Dynamic Duo

Gabbie Gervais (left) and Sarita Hook have plenty to smile about these days. Gervais is among 32 students in Minnesota who are still in the running for the statewide “Triple A” award, while Hook is a 2017 ExCEL Award recipient, which honors 36 Minnesota students for their all-around schoolwork, leadership and community involvement.

Gabbie Gervais and Sarita Hook aer doing Tracy Area High School proud in and outside of the classroom.

By Per Peterson

Happy Sweet 16, Gabbie Gervais.
No, it’s not Gervais’ 16th birthday — that cherished moment has come and gone. This Sweet 16 carries a different kind of significance.
Gervais, a senior at Tracy Area High School, has been named the “Triple A” Region 3A winner, joining seven other female high school students and eight male counterparts from the seven other regions across the state who will now vie for the very coveted state award.
Gervais said she is honored and humbled to represent Region 3A and appreciates the award because it encompasses students’ entire body of work — not just one particular aspect of their school life.
“A lot of people think it’s only about volleyball for me,” she said. “I think I’m a person only associated with volleyball — people say, ‘Oh, it’s only about sports with you,’ but I think that people don’t realize I excel in school, too. I think it’s really cool that we recognize this award in general because there are a lot of kids involved in academics and sports and other activities. I think it’s good to have a well-rounded balance between all three of them and that we recognize those students.”
Gervais said TAHS Athletic Director Bill Tauer told her that given her success in volleyball, plus her academic prowess, she has a good chance of going on to represent the region at the state level. That talk also helped her realize how big of a deal she was involved in.
“He said the last few winners have come from our section, so that really put into perspective how tough our section is,” Gervais said. “Being in sports and seeing all these other girls in our section, it really made me think, like, ‘Wow, this could be a big deal.’”
A percussionist in band, Gervais has been in a band contest ensemble for four years and has earned three superior ratings as a soloist. Gervais has sung in the high school choir for four years, and is a member of this year’s Chamber Choir. She has participated in vocal solo and ensemble contest for two years.

By Per Peterson

Sarita Hook is rather proud of her daily school planner.
“I write almost everything down, especially on my real busy weeks,” Hook says as she opens her planner to offer a glimpse into her hectic life. “Right now, I don’t have any after-school activities other than speech and that’s Saturdays, so it’s pretty nice that I get to go home after school.”
Nice, but very atypical for one of the busiest juniors at Tracy Area High School. And Hook’s ability to keep everything in order and shine at the same time has made her a 2017 ExCEL Award winner — an award that honors juniors’ excellence in community, education and leadership.
“I have to plan my days wisely,” says Hook.
The daughter of Tom and Shannon Hook, Sarita is involved in speech, band, choir, one-act and fall play/musical. She is also in cross country, track and field, 4-H, FFA and is a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Outside of school, she is the piano accompanist for her church’s praise team.
“A big thing for me is keeping everything in perspective,” Hook said. “I’m going to fail at some points, so it’s just getting back
up and trying hard. Keeping everything in balance is very hard sometimes, but my parents help me a lot.”
Hook is fresh off a first-place finish in Extemporaneous Reading at a speech meet in Worthington. Her eyes light up when she talks about speech because she knows that being involved in the activity has changed her for the better.
“I’ve gotten so much more confidence since I’ve been involved in speech,” she said. “It’s opened up so many opportunities for me. I don’t know for sure what I want to go into after I graduate, but I do know that I want to work with people, and I think speech has really opened some doors for me.”

For more on these articles, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.